Cumbrae Oysters owner Alan Forbes, left, and Craig Donald, senior surveyor for Peel Ports. Photo: Martin Shields.

Clyde oyster farmer to double size of site

Seafood specialist Cumbrae Oysters Ltd has struck a deal with Peel Ports on a new 15-year lease at Hunterston Port and Resource Centre (PARC) on the Clyde coast.

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The agreement enables Cumbrae Oysters, which exports its products worldwide, including to the Far East and China, to double the size of its current three-acre site at Hunterston PARC.

Peel Ports launched its vision last year to develop the 320-acre Hunterston site as a hub for the blue economy, amongst other industries, in the West of Scotland.

Great demand

Cumbrae Oysters director and owner Alan Forbes said: “I am very pleased to have this deal in place. Our oysters are in great demand in places like China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as here in the UK and in Europe, and the South Annan Sands at Hunterston have all the conditions to produce the kind of seafood most wanted in the Far East especially.

“The very cold, deep Clyde estuarine water enables the slow growth for optimum production, in addition to the presence of plankton that is the best oyster food. With this expansion, we will be able to double production and we will be looking to create a further two jobs on site, with additional seasonal opportunities.”

Clams and scallops

In addition to year-round oyster production, Cumbrae also offers razor clams and other species of clams, king scallops, brown crabs, lobsters and blue mussels on a seasonal basis.

Jim McSporran, Peel Ports Clydeport director, said: “Hunterston provides the natural development choice for business in the aquaculture sector to invest. The key attributes, which include the combination of marine infrastructure, energy and access to cold and very deep salt water in which the best shellfish flourish, provide an attractive opportunity to support the growth of the industry.

“This announcement is only the beginning and we welcome enquiries from businesses within the sector looking to explore opportunities.”

Heather Jones, chief executive of the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), said: “Scotland’s burgeoning aquaculture sector has an important role to play in building a sustainable blue economy.

“Facilities and hubs designed to promote innovation, research and collaboration can be a valuable tool to support the growth of SMEs in particular, and it is great to see opportunities emerging alongside Hunterston PARC’s wider transformation project.”